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Upcoming Special Opportunities Intelligence Reports, Plus Headwinds, Immediate MHC Independents Warning

April 13th, 2019 Comments off

 

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Businesses, organizations, and professions are based upon solving some need(s).  Keep that simple truth in mind.

 

 

In the case of our industry, that need is for affordable housing, and/or for ‘fast homes.’  Manufactured homes are not instant, but compared to many other operations, HUD Code homes are quicker.

This morning we will tease two upcoming reports, but our focus today is on an immediate headwinds and threats to manufactured home independents. That looming dagger is most notably in the land lease manufactured home community sector, but by extension, into other arenas too.

 

Upcoming 1: There are numerous opportunities that manufactured housing can and should serve. One very specific one will be featured in a report that should be ready next week. Demographic changes are creating opportunities that the big boys will know, but operations of small to medium size need to better understand in order to profit from.

Upcoming 2: perhaps as soon as tomorrow, we will publish a turning ‘lemons into lemonade’ report, that takes nettlesome issues that create headwinds for the industry and reveals how they can become opportunities in disguise.

Immediate – even this morning’s ‘headwinds’ report – which outlines risks current and coming, could be turned into opportunities in disguise for savvy professionals.  So read with care, don’t skim.

 

Superficiality-is-the-curse-of-the-modernWorldMatthewKellyQuoteFancyInspirationBlogMHProNews720

Warren Buffett didn’t say it, but another successful and ethical business guru – Matthew Kelly – did. Want to understand something enough to benefit from it? There is no substitute to investing the time needed. Buffett says he reads 5 to 6 hours a day. Wow…but look were that got him. Invest an hour or two a day on MHProNews and MHLivingNews, and share them with your team.  You will have more intelligence for your professional life if you do so. 

 

With those upcoming features noted, let’s dive into today’s Manufactured Housing Intelligence Report for Independents.

 

 

Behind the Curtain of John Oliver’s Mobile Homes Viral Video? MHAction, and Their Agenda

First, the facts. Much of the John Oliver satirical viral hit on manufactured housing ne’er do wells was sourced from MHAction related materials. This is easy to identify because Oliver shows the ‘white paper’ that includes MHAction in his report.

 

MHActionPrivateEquityGiantsConvergeManufacturedHomesLastWeekTonightJohnOliverMobileHomesVideoStillMHProNews

You build a case, by laying out the evidence, one fact at a time.

PrivateEquityGiantsConvergeOnManufacturedHomesMHActionDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

You can download their ‘white paper’ at this link here.

That is the same white paper that MHProNews spotlighted for industry independents a few weeks ago. The Washington Post, followed by other news media outlets, reported on that same MHAction co-branded ‘research.’  Note that then and now, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) response was the same. Per sources, they shared a few things with various state executives and others, explained why they really could not effectively respond, and it was just best to let the matter blow over.

Really?

Question. What do they get paid millions of dollars a year to do? Is MHI paid to give excuses? As one source with knowledge told MHProNews, they are committing “association malpractice.” That same source also said MHI has about $4 million in their reserves fund, and that they could mount an effective reply if they wanted to do so.

So why don’t they?

The apparent response from those smiling faces in Arlington, VA where MHI is headquartered is that they obviously don’t want to reply to attacks on the industry, even in this case, when several of those attacked are their own members. That begs the question, why not defend even your own?

As a non-industry attorney investigating manufactured housing issues that called MHProNews this week noted, who benefits from the MHI inaction? Who is harmed by their inaction?

Moving back to the MHAction co-branded ‘white paper.’

Let’s recall where MHAction gets their funding. No conjecture is needed, because here are some eye-opening facts.  Keep in mind what investigative reporter Sharyl Attiksson says, “follow the money.” ICYMI, you can click on the linked report later for more details and insights.

 

Watchdogs? Attack-Dogs? The Smear, and Manufactured Housing

 

A) From the bottom of their home page, we see this.  The image is a collage, but from their website with MHProNews comments.

 

MHActionHomePage2019-04-13_0857TheAdvocacyFundThePresidioDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Building that case, one fact after another. Follow the money trail. Ask who benefits? Cui Bono?

 

B) As a reminder, a resident group informed MHLivingNews last year about MHAction’s ties with the Tides Foundation. The Advocacy Fund gets money from the Tides Foundation.

 

TidesAdvocacyFundSupportsMHActionDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

C) Who are the top donors to the Tides?

 

TidesFoundationNovoFoundationWarrenBuffettMHActionDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

D) Who gave the money to the top donor, the Novo Foundation? Warren Buffett.

 

NoVoFoundationWarrenBuffettPeterBuffettJenniferBuffetInfluenceWatchDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

FollowTheMoneySBDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Summing Up Before Moving Onto What’s Coming Next

We are left with the inescapable fact that Buffett’s largess helped pay for that MHAction co-branded ‘white paper’ attack on private equity firms investing in manufactured home communities.

We see that MHI, and several state executives affiliated with them, are saying let’s let this blow over.  Buffett’s Berkshire brands in MHVille dominate MHI, as the do numbers of state associations too.

That MHAction co-branded ‘white paper’ targets giant firms, and a common thread is that the ones noted by Oliver’s video were MHI members.

Just as big banks can handle regulatory hurdles better than smaller ones, so too big companies can afford to take media hits easier than smaller firms. So while it may seem counterintuitive to fund those that attack your own interests, that what is occurring. The purported logic is they can take it better than you as as a smaller business can.

To the general public watching that John Oliver video, yes, it may make Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes, Frank Rolfe, or others look bad. But that casual observer sees the entire industry looking bad. Here are some actual comments posted on the John Oliver video

 

  • You had me convinced things are wrong when you stated how many people live in mobile homes” – Chris McElroy.

 

  • John Oliver can take any topic I’ve never cared about and make them extremely interesting.” – Perfect Dawnn.

 

  • I’m laughing on the outside but crying inside,,, of my mobile home.” – dustymcdirt.

 

  • Wow, a connection between Warren Buffet and Duck Dynasty.” – TlalocW.

 

  • Wow I never knew all this before. We never hear these on NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX etc.” – Maximus Augustus.

 

  • Socialism for the rich Capitalism for the poor” – LAVIN20.

 

  • You gotta admire the dedication this show’s crew has to actually enroll in these shady seminars just to find out how awful the people behind these things really are.” – Floating Sunfish.

 

MHI, and the states, are doing little more than hand wringing. Hey! Daddy Buffet Bucks helped pay for this assault?!

Are you an MH Independent?  If so, do you see the various ways that the powers that be can hit you with unexpected headwinds?  But there is more.  Like a grand master in chess, your opponents are thinking several moves ahead.

Here is what they’ve already signaled, per sources to MHProNews, on what they are working on next.  The John Oliver viral video on “Mobile Homes,” or the Washington Post and related reports that MHAction – thanks to funding from Uncle Warren – are arguably preparing.  You may look back and think of this as the calm before the coming storm.

 

 

What’s Looming Next?

Start with two words. Rent Control.

The next ‘white paper’ the folks at MHAction are pushing is one calling for broader rent control. It is a threat to MH Communities that are independently owned.  But don’t think that the impact stops there, because our industry is interconnected, so others in MHVille will feel the impact too.  You can access their sadly flawed 2-page summary of their thinking on that issue from the image below, or this link here.  MHAction and their allies are calling for nationwide rent control.

 

OurHomesOurFutreRentControlPromotedByMHAction-DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Download their two page summary promoting the flawed notion of rent control, at this link here.

 

We’ve debunked its value before, but the most recent report on that is linked below.  We’ll plan a follow up on the MHAction backed item in the days ahead.  ICYMI – our prior Daily Business News on MHProNews exclusive report, see that at the link below.

 

Rent Control & MH – Politicians “Are Carpet-Bombing Our State With Regulations That Will Deliberately Destabilize The Housing Market And Leave It Obliterated”

 

If you are an association member in a post-production or umbrella trade group, ask your leaders, or yourself, what are they doing to head this off?  That’s what a good trade association does to earn their keep.

 

 

Washington Politicos, Advocates Are Watching John Oliver’s Video

 

Sources are telling MHProNews that the John Oliver “Mobile Homes” viral video has been raising concerns in Washington, D.C. While that doesn’t always result in legislative action, it could. Do you hear that from MHI? What happened to Nathan Smith’s pledge to make MHI more proactive?

 

 

The industry’s independents are left with several vexing problems.  Among them is the question of feeding the hand(s) that bite them, by paying an association(s) that may be working against your interests. Or doing business with brands that may be working against your long-term interests as an independent. Or that some associations stand mute when challenges like these artificially generated headwinds arise.

No easy way out?

If you’ve been paying an organization to protect-educate-promote your firm, perhaps saving those dues or fees would be a useful first step?

Or as a notable association member suggested, there may need to be a battle within those trade groups to wrestle control away from the powers that be which are arguably leading the industry into one ambush after another.

We began this column with a simple truth.  Businesses, organizations, and professions are based upon solving some need(s).  What need does MHI solve?

If their purpose is to help consolidate the industry into ever fewer “big boy” hands, they are succeeding at that mission.

But in that case, MHI would arguably be falsely claiming to represent “all segments of factory-built housing,” when in fact they seem to be serving only a favored few.

Our industry has powerful and timely truths, but they are being obscured by messages like Oliver’s and MHAction’s. The good news about manufactured homes, communities, or the industry at large are not being successfully defended or promoted by MHI. The shipment data proves that all too well.

Febuary2019NewHUDCodeManufacturedHousingShipmentData

 

The facts and quotes that follow demonstrate a snapshot of why this current downturn is avoidable.

 

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AllTruthPassesThrough3stagesFirstRidiculed2ndViolentlyOpposed3rdAcceptedAsSelfEvidentManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBuinessNewsMHProNews

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DearTonySoheylaNoGreaterResourceSpeakstoIssuesOpportunitiesWeFaceAsIndependentRetailersGusRodriguezTejasHomesTX

Gus’ message came in response to a series of exposes on issues within manufactured housing, as well as tips, strategies and opportunities.

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That’s Saturday’s edition of “Delivering to Manufactured Home Independents & Investors Useful Intelligence for Your Professional Life.” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Related Reports:

You can click on the image/text boxes to learn more about that topic.

HBO’s John Oliver on Last Week Tonight Mobile Homes Video, Manufactured Home Communities Fact Check

 

“Billion Dollar Empire Made From Mobile Homes,” What Washington Post’s Peter Whoriskey Didn’t Report

Why is Seattle Dying? Affordable Housing, Misplaced Compassion, and Manufactured Homes

MarketWatch Reports on Manufactured Housing, 2018-2019

Bryan Manufactured Homes Ban Passed, But Petition Count, Other Legal Moves May Stop Texas City

Michigan Association’s Video Campaign, What They’ve Said About Manufactured Home Living

Warren Buffett Wades Into Politics, Why Not John Oliver’s Piece on “Mobile Homes?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keith Anderson, CEO Champion Homes, MHI ‘New Class’ Monopoly Concerns Memo, ‘Harms Owners, Independents’

March 3rd, 2018 Comments off

KeithAndersonCEOChampionHomesMHINewClassMonopolyConcernsMemoHarmsMHOwnersIndependnets

As the Daily Business News noted in a recent report, corporate officers have responsibilities to shareholders.

 

Association leaders have a similar responsibility to their members.

 

The question of monopoly – an anti-trust law issue – is one being raised across the political spectrum.  From voices as different as The Nation on the far left to Breitbart on the far right, concerns that a few mega-companies are harmfully dominating the marketplace are growing in number.

And those outside voices are growing in their respective sense of urgency.

 

The Nation’s recent multi-part look at issue of monopoly specifically addresses Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes and manufactured housing.  It’s not just voices inside the industry, that the Daily Business News has been reporting on for over a year.

  • Elected congressman, senators,
  • universities,
  • media,
  • think tanks,
  • business and investors,
  • media across the left-right political divide

are all studying this question.  Some have looked specifically at manufactured housing.

It is an issue that CFED – since rebranded as Prosperity Now – previously raised too, as has the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), and other voices within manufactured housing.

 

Against that backdrop, MHProNews’ publisher sent an inquiry like the following to the leadership of the Manufactured Housing Institute.  Another message was posed prior to the one to MHI that follows, specifically to Champion Home Builders president, Keith Anderson.

 

—– start of emailed memo w/requests to MHI leadership —–

EmailHeadertoManufacturedHousinginstitute

MHI Leadership,

We advised Keith @ Champion in the message below that we are seeking a response to certain issues related to MHI, and the controversies over the allegedly monopolistic and potentially harmful impact of the ‘new class of manufactured homes’ they plan.

 

MHProNews is hereby asking MHI again to directly supply to us for publication, any and all information and correspondence by any means related to this ‘new class of manufactured homes,’ as it has the potential to negatively impact hundreds if not thousands of businesses, and the home values of millions of existing manufactured home owners.

 

If you see any facts or information that you deem inaccurate, please explain so in writing, and for publication. We have a deadline for this, so a prompt response is welcomed.

 

Thank you, see the forward below for added details.

 

Respectfully,

 

Tony

 

 

—– end of emailed memo w/requests to MHI leadership —–

DailyBusinessNewsLogoMHProNewsLogo

The Daily Business News notes for readers that it was about a year ago when the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) began to no longer directly reply to this pro-industry trade media when questions were asked about pending issues of industry interest.

That said, MHI has at times replied indirectly through their own email news, or through surrogates. More on those and other related topics, linked further below.

But as a reminder to long time and new readers, prior to avoiding questions, numerous MHI leaders had publicly praised MHProNews and made themselves available for questions on a routine and prompt basis, a key example is linked.  The point?  Why did that prompt reply policy change?

 

As another reminder, we continue to provide the balance and depth of analysis and coverage of issues not found anywhere else in manufactured housing trade publishing.

Direct questions of broad concern to the industry ought not be construed as an attack, but rather as an opportunity to for those questioned to explain, confirm, or clarify.  It’s what mainstream media does – when it is reporting fairly – too.

We cover the good news, as well as the problematic and controversial.

York’s Champion Production Center Celebrates 58th Birthday

New HUD Code Manufactured Home Factory Opening, State Announces Hundreds of News Jobs

Against that backdrop, the memo with question sent to Keith Anderson, President of Champion Homes yesterday is like what follows.

 

—– start of emailed memo w/questions to Keith Anderson —–

 

Keith,

Beyond our own direct communications, we are informed by reliable sources that you and several team members at Champion closely follow MHProNews.

So, you aware of the concerns we’ve raised about allegedly monopolistic practices that involve the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), and some larger players who are influential members there.

It is our understanding that Champion is ‘all in’ with MHI, and MHI aligned state association ‘affiliates.’  Kindly feel free to correct any mistakes in my message.

With that backdrop, we are asking you for your emailed reply comments/reaction to the following. You can note your replies as off-the-record, or from a Champion spokesperson, but we would prefer an on the record reply, directly from you.

1) As an industry expert and as trade media, there seems to be no logical predicate for the so-called ‘new class of manufactured homes’ being promoted by MHI, other than a potentially monopolistic one.

– the HUD Code already provides you with a wide latitude in design, and features, that you or other producers can market your homes however you wish, within normal legal constraints.

– there are already sales being made using existing HUD Code home designs and nomenclature under the current HUD Code to the same target markets that the ‘new class of homes’ are purportedly designed to attract.

 

2) So other than a monopolistic goal, with a supposed aim to marginalize non-participating companies, what is the rationale for this new class of homes?

 

3) Why is MHI attempting to keep the documents related to this so-called ‘new class of homes secret’ from the industry’s top trade media, and by extension, from the bulk of the industry itself?

– Why did Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison cancel his public presentation with Ducker Worldwide on this topic at Louisville, shortly before it was set to begin, other than to avoid our coverage of the topic? After all, he was photographed on the show floor at the very time the presentation was supposed to be taking place?

 

4) Isn’t it possible, or even likely, that this planned ‘new class’ of federally regulated homes is going to have the practical effect of undermining the resale values of every other HUD Code manufactured home?

– Wouldn’t that in turn cause billions of dollars in damages to the value of current manufactured home owners, as well as to the pending consumers of manufactured homes?

– Wouldn’t that also harm the sales of non-participating manufactured home producers?

– Won’t that likewise cause retailers and communities who don’t participate in this plan market harm as well?

 

5) We are told by a senior source at Skyline Corporation that they asked to ‘join the club’ involved in this proposed ‘new class of manufactured homes.’ Please confirm or clarify that statement and the implied concern, vis a viz, the above.

 

6) As your firm, Clayton Homes and Cavco Industries have said in connection with MHI, your three producing firms are about 70 percent of the production of the industry already. Isn’t this planned ‘new class of homes’ just one more example of how key MHI members are leveraging situations to further consolidate (allegedly monopolize) the industry?

 

We have reports that we plan for today and/possibly tomorrow, and you’ve been tracking the issues on MHProNews, including the ‘Trojan Horse’ article linked in our most recent emailed headline news update – which is provided below as a reminder and a courtesy – so your prompt reply is valued.

 

In terms of the total impact of the allegedly monopolistic practices, there seems to be good scholarship that suggests it could total into the hundreds of billions of dollars.  Please note the ‘YIMBY vs. NIMBY – Obama Admin Concept‘ report linked below; if you didn’t already read that last in the light of the monopolistic impact of this ‘new class of homes’ on other HUD Code manufactured homes, financing, incomplete media engagement, and other MHI related issues.  Please scroll past my by line for those or other potentially related links.

 

Finally, please Note that we are bcc’ing interested select industry parties, including legal and federal sources, to document the query, and to underscore the urgency of the issues we are asking for your comments on.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Respectfully,

Tony 

L. A. “Tony” Kovach
Managing Member
LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – DBN
MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews.com, et al.”

 

—– end of emailed memo w/questions to Keith Anderson —–

Messages like those shown above drew replies on and off the record.

Among those replies were on the record ones from George F. Allen, who asserts that he has dropped his membership at MHI.  If so, Allen’s not alone.

State Associations, Companies Quit Membership in Manufactured Housing Institute, (MHI), One Explains in Writing, ‘Why?’

Note a related article, that addresses some of Allen’s concerns, linked below.

“F-Bombs” Fly – Cursing Manufactured Housing and Tornadoes – Engaging Public, Experts, Officials, and Media

Another reply came from Amy Bliss at the Wisconsin Housing Alliance (WHA).

Wisconsin Housing Alliance – an MHI ‘Affiliate’ – Amy Bliss’ Messages Raise New Anti-Trust Issue

Both of those industry’s professionals words will be shared at length, verbatim and examined in follow ups.  This article should be updated with links to that follow up.

Both the Allen and Bliss messages were packed with interesting points.

Secretive “NEW” Class of Manufactured Housing Raises Serious Concerns

 

Why This Matters to Manufactured Housing Professionals, Investors and Policy Advocates

As was noted at the top, concerns about monopoly across industries are growing, so in that sense, it isn’t unusual that manufactured housing would likewise have that kind of concern. In England, one source said that anti-trust laws are trigged at 25 percent market share.  That’s there, but what about the U.S.?

It isn’t so cut and dried.  But there are voices that say that monopolies have been reached, or exceeded.  Its an issue that arguably poses a threat to every industry independent involved in manufactured housing.  Watch for follow up reports, and for more information, follow the links below.

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Notice: ‘The MHI Party line’ is said to be that there is ‘no there there,‘ or that ‘there is nothing to see, no cause for alarm, move on.’ If MHI is saying through their surrogates that there are no conspiracies (we don’t say conspiracy, we say the facts are hiding in plain sight) so, then why are a growing number of voices outside of the industry that are studying manufactured housing focusing on some of the same issues that MHProNews has been reporting on for over a year?

Common sense suggests where many see smoke, there is a need to look for the cause of the fire.

Related:

Fiduciary Responsibility to Corp Shareholders-MH Anti-Trust Concerns; Plus MH Market UPdate$

Progressive “Nation” Reports on Monopolies Cites Buffett, Clayton, Others – MH Industry Impact?

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By L. A. “Tony” Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.

Tony is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

 

 

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